Sulzer Explores Sale of Metco Unit as It Pares Outlook for 2013

Sulzer AG (SUN), a Swiss pump maker, said it is exploring a sale of its Metco coatings division to focus on oil and gas, power and water markets.

“The potential divestiture of the Sulzer Metco division would generate additional funds for targeted acquisitions and further investments toward organic growth in Sulzer’s key markets,” Sulzer, based in Winterthur, said in a statement today, adding that the Metco unit is mainly active in automotive, aviation and general industries.

Chief Executive Officer Klaus Stahlmann, who joined from MAN SE last year, is leaving his mark with the carving out of Metco, which competes with OC Oerlikon AG and IHI Corp. (7013)’s Ionbond. The company is reviewing a mid-term target of 6 percent to 8 percent annual sales growth.

Sulzer pared its outlook to slight growth in order intake and sales in 2013, and slightly lower profitability. The company had previously forecast moderate growth, with profitability to increase slightly.

Metco is the world’s largest maker of thermal-spray coatings after about 40 acquisitions since 1985. That includes the 1994 purchase of the Metco brand from U.S. laboratory-equipment maker PerkinElmer Inc. (PKI)

First-half net income declined 23 percent to 99.5 million Swiss francs ($106 million), the Winterthur-based company said today. That missed the median 142.5 million-franc estimate of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Under-utilization of capacities, changes in the business mix, higher restructuring charges, and higher computer system costs impacted profitability, Sulzer said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Winters in Zurich at pwinters3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net

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